Thursday, 28 January 2016

The treadmill run normally without a person above but hangs or misbehaves when someone steps on it above/Smell or smoke comes out of the treadmill during use

If the treadmill operates normally without a person above, but slows or behaves abnormally as soon as you step on it, the most likely causes are:
1) running belt and/or the running deck are worn. (85% of cases).
2) running belt or the drive belt is too tighten, think about this especially if you have recently adjusted. (8% of cases).
3) motor lost torque or is demagnetized. (5% of cases).
4) controller is problems. (2% of cases)
Under these conditions, do not attempt to operate the treadmill until you understand exactly where the problem originates and solve it. You may otherwise damage other components thus increasing the cost of recovery.
Worn deck:
normally it is easy to identify if the deck is worn out. The table is covered with a perfectly smooth thin layer. If the layer is worn out or there are hollows, bumps or actual cracks, deck must be replaced. You should use a perfectly straight iron bar in order to check whether the table surface is flat as some low lying areas may not be visible to the naked eye. In some treadmills it’s possible to turn the deck upside down. This is common for professional gym equipment. Sometimes unsuitable lubricants and wax leave residues on the table, which must be removed. If you can avoid degreasers and aggressive products.
Worn belt:
It is not at all easy to identify if a belt is worn or not. Often the mere age of belt (regardless of usage) will make it unsuitable! It goes without saying, you should replace the belt if it shows cracks, tears or holes in the texture below. But often you should replace it even though the texture and the top surface looks in good condition. To check the degree of worn of the belt is necessary to assess the absorption (amperage) DC or AC depending on the treadmill. Solely looking at the belt or evaluating its feeling is unreliable. Unfortunately many service engineers neglect this aspect, because they don’t have the appropriate instruments to measure the absorption. It is difficult to measure the output current from the PWM controller. That’s because of the particular type of treadmill speed adjustment system (see other articles on our blog). If you are not able to take the current measurement, consider as general rule that if the treadmill works fine when no one and the problems start when a person gets on the belt, the belt is almost certainly to be replaced. Belts older than 5 years are to be replaced. This is especially true for some brands of sports equipment, such as Proform, Weslo, Nordic Track, Domyos, and in general for all treadmills assembled with components marked Greenmaster, GMD or Icon. Those manufacturers also produce as OEM for several brands. They use a basic economic belt, which often presents over time this kind of problem. Very thick belts (for example the so-called "orthopedic", over 2 mm thickness) tend to give more problems than standard belts.
Another type of test that can be done without special equipment is the tilt test. Set the treadmill at maximum incline and walk at 4 km/h. If the treadmill operates normally at high speed, and problems start if you lover, that’s symptom that you need to replace the belt. In fact the gravity effect counteracts the increased friction factor of the belt. Note that sometimes bad belts still pass this test.
Motor belt or belt too tight:
If you have adjusted the running belt or the drive belt recently, double check. On the treadmill, tight doesn't mean any better. You must be able to lift the belt in the middle (with the treadmill off) being able to pass a hand underneath without forcing. If too much tighten the belt gives problems, but make also sure you haven't created a dangerous/slippery situation. Check the instructions in this blog to tighten properly running belt and drive belt. It should be possible to rotate 90 degrees the drive belt / motor belt (with the power off) effortlessly by hands. Avoid it to be too tighten. Check the instructions in this blog for proper tension. New belts grip easily on the roller and don’t slip, thanks to their elasticity, so they need less tension. With a new belt, you can save much more costly repairs. You also reduce the electrical consumption of the treadmill, so it pays out.
Worn brushes / Motor demagnetized:
After many years of use, the engine may need a new pair of brushes. Removing the old brushes you can see if they wear. In that case you can buy a new set. Unfortunately sometimes the damage to the brushes is due to irregularity of the collector. However given the limited cost you can try to replace the brushes. If after some usage you notice an irregular consumption even of the new pair purchased, you will need to replace the motor.
The demagnetization of the engine is not common but it is fairly easy to diagnose. This happens more often on the engines marked ICON or MEGA MOTOR, and on motors with lower than 180V rated voltage. To test if the engine is demagnetized, dismount it. After removing the bolts and brushes holder, lift the engine cover and check whether the internal magnets attract metal objects with force. If they do, the magnets are intact, otherwise the motor must be replaced.
Other engine damages are due to breaks or short circuits in the armature filaments, usually caused by overheating. It is difficult to determine such situations without the use of special laboratory instrumentation.
There is some easy way to check if a motor is damaged. We can assume an engine damage:
- when the motor does not turn smoothly by hand,
- if you see leave little pieces of plastic/resin coming out from the rear fan
- if you open the motor and see "debris" of plastic on the armature.
All these symptoms indicate that the engine was overheating up to melt the resin insulation which insulates the individual filaments. In these cases, the engine needs to be replaced, but it should also be paid attention to proper maintenance to prevent the new engine from being damaged.
It is one of the rarest cases. In most cases, the engineer will replace the controller but won't solve the problem which is more likely in the belt. Normally, to see if a controller is good, you can perform a simple test. The controllers have a current limiter that will automatically lower the power to prevent a short circuit when it finds something abnormal. For treadmills with DC motor (the most common for household), if you can measure with a current probe or an ammeter the output current from the controller. If the value reaches at least the 5A, the controller is OK and the fault is in other components. Another test that you can do is to bring the treadmill up to max speed without anyone on: if the controller is OK, it should reach full speed. This test could also fail due treadmill engine damage or problems in the speed sensor.
Finally one last suggestion, the controller should be replaced in the case does not bring any voltage to the motor output (symptom: the motor does not move) or is shorted (symptom: the motor is at full speed and you can’t adjust it). To do this test is advisable to connect a bulb to the outputs M+ and M- of the controller instead of the original engine. By starting the treadmill and pressing + and – speed, it should be possible to adjust the intensity of the light bulb for a few seconds. If the bulb does not light or lights fully and you can not adjust the brightness, then the controller it must be replaced.

How to replace treadmill parts and repair it

If you have e a problem on the treadmill, you want to know definitely the magnitude of the problem, if there is one or more damaged pieces, and know how to repair them.
The first thing you should consider is if the equipment is still under warranty. Sometimes treadmills are sold without warranty or the warranty does not cover certain types of faults, for example those caused by incorrect maintenance. Therefore, if your treadmill is not equipped, you will have to buy some replacement parts to fix your treadmill. The most effective way to find replacements is buying on the internet, through sites such as Always contact a specialist in order to have quality parts. Component manufacturers often improve their parts (especially electronic) due to changes in technology and it is better to buy the latest versions which usually address various defects in earlier versions ( reduce electricity consumption).
Running belt is one of the pieces that gets damaged more easily. It requires a little research before you buy it and replace it. Be careful because the part has to be compatible with your machine. Contact specialized companies and with a wide range of standard products. If you purchase a standard size belt it will be easier to replace it with another one in case you mistake size. Customized ones are almost impossible to replace in case of mistake. Also, the age of the running belt is very important. After a few years (regardless of usage) the belt loses some of its elasticity. Some dealers keeps the belt in stock for years. If the belt comes from old stock, you might buy a belt with a high friction factor and this can cause problems to your treadmill.
The best way to reduce need of repairs is to buy a quality treadmill, reliable and suitable for your needs. Many people and dealers still think that for rehabilitation and walking any treadmill could be fine. It’s the opposite! Treadmill undergoes heavy load, because it must "carry" the user and thus acts more like a conveyor belt than as a treadmill. For rehab and walking it’s much better to choose products with AC motor (the same technology used on commercial gym equipment). Unfortunately many people still don’t know this. Shops with experience in service will suggest you a good deal and guarantee that your investment will last over time. In addition, if you take care of your treadmill, you’ll reduce the risk of damages.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Why does a treadmill motor break down? How to prevent treadmill engine failures

The engine failure are the most expensive repairs on a treadmill. You may be surprised to learn that the main causes of the engine failure are rarely the engine itself. The problem depends usually on an excessive or improper use of the equipment, or, very often, on lack of maintenance. Both of these factors can be affected directly by the user.
Excessive use of the treadmill
What can the user do?
1) Clean and lubricate regularly the running deck = reduces the friction factor
2) Always start with feet on the side rails (FIRST start the treadmill at 1.5 to 2 km / h, THEN step on it) = avoids current peaks and the effect "locked rotor starting"
3) try to maintain walking speed OVER 5km / h. = Reduces power consumption and overheating
4) after training check if the motor overheats. It should be possible to hold on one hand without burning. The outer surface of the motor must never exceed 50 ° C. If the engine gets very hot, try to:
a) better ventilate the treadmill, the engine itself and the room
b) increase the average speed, take breaks (eg. stretching) and reduce the continuous training time
c) check lubrication
d) check that running belt and drive belt are not be TOO TIGHTEN (too much tighten = premature wear).
Sometimes the running belts loose their ability to lubricate and cause high friction. In this case, the walking belt must be replaced to avoid problems for the motor and the board.
Let's see in more detail why these recommendations
When you use a treadmill, heat builds up inside the motor. Imagine two treadmills, both identical except for the fact that one has a small motor and the other has a large motor. If we use both at the same way, both will necessarily have to generate the same power, but to do this the smaller engine has to work more (and less efficiently) than the big engine. This means that more heat develops and consumption is higher. When the engine warms up, the winding insulation or windings can fail, causing problems inside the motor detectable only through special load bench test. The windings can fail and go shorted.
To prevent the engine to warm up, we must keep under control the "duty cycle" i.e. the time of utilization, especially continuous. The Duty Cycle is the recommended amount of "time on" and "off" to the engine. This is one of the factors that a manufacturer of treadmill will consider when selecting a motor for the treadmill. For example, a duty cycle of 30 minutes 50% means to perform a job for a 30 minutes, followed by 30 more minutes of cooling to allow to dissipate heat in the motor. The engines of treadmills most commonly used normally fall into a duty cycle of 50% between 20 minutes and an hour. The not domestic treadmills (for gyms) of the best brands, are rated for continuous use and sometimes include an additional internal cooling to ensure that the engine does not overheat. So the amount of continuous use for a treadmill is really important in determining its overall life. The outer surface of the motor can be cooled with external cooling fans. However, remove the heat from the center of the engine is not so easy to get. Similar problems can occur if the user's weight exceeds the weight design of the treadmill. Often manufacturers indicate over 100 kg maximum weight, but the actual is around 70/80 kg.
Lack of maintenance
The lack of maintenance can lead to the same type of fault. If you do not regularly lubricate the walking belt, it will increase the friction between the belt and the platform during training. The motor of the treadmill must work harder to overcome the increased friction and if it works more, will become warmer. Looking at the motor brushes, if there are burn marks, often this was the cause of the fault. These are signs that the engine has run too much. This problem can easily be avoided through regular maintenance of the belt and replace it when it becomes too worn. It’s not always easy to tell the belt is worn out by looking at its surface. Sometimes, the belt may look OK, but it is the problem. So, each time the engine warms up, belt replacement should be taken into consideration after a first stage of cleaning and maintenance. We suggest you to replace the belt with a new one with a low friction factor. You can buy them on the website
Consider that a tape with double friction factor (a tape of 4/5 years old often gives this) doubles engine work. It's like saying that a user of only 60 kg causes the motor effort of a 120 kg person!
Other failure modes
Of course, there are also other failure modes for engines that it is not possible to influence so easily. The control system (controller) adjusts the motor voltage through sudden PWM pulses (see more details on our blog). This adjustment is adopted on all DC current motors, virtually all of those used on domestic use treadmills. Albeit economical and reliable, this adjustment tends to greatly straining the engine, especially when the controller must adjust significantly speed (that is, when the user, and then the engine go SLOW). Other fault types relate to the phenomenon of demagnetization. Voltage spikes from the card and overheat can permanently destroy the magnetic field of the (permanent) magnet engine. In fact, the most efficient way to magnetize a metal object is to go through a strong electric field in order to align the micro structure of the metallic, and the same way you can de-magnetize objects by changing the electric field so as to destroy the micro structure. When the magnetism of the motor is reduced too far, the system of the treadmill must compensate for this by increasing the amount of electric current (A) flowing through the windings in order to obtain the same effective. In this way, however, it accumulates more heat in the motor, that can lead to the problems described above. While some engine manufacturers (Turdan, Te Wei, Lemmar) have magnets very resistant to this type of phenomenon, other (Megamotor, Icon), encounter this phenomenon of demagnetization more frequently.
Finally, test the engine with a battery is not enough. It will not say anything about the amount of torque that the motor is able to generate for given amount of current (the magnetism and the current directly influence the torque). The only reliable way to test the torque is with special equipment in a laboratory, with special tester for DC motors.
My engine is failure. So what should I do?
If the engine is actually failure and you replace it, do not neglect other factors of maintenance and avoid overheat. No manufacturer does guarantee engine for overheating because it is obvious that the overheating of the motor depends on some conditions of improper use. Instead, you are careful you can restore the correct operation of the treadmill and guarantee yourself many years of pleasant workouts.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Treadmill with DC motor (DC) how to choose the best treadmill motor, beyond the measure of horsepower (HP)?

When buying a new treadmill it is good to take a look inside and watch some technical data in addition, in order of importance:
1) Has the engine a diameter of at least 8 cm (better 10 cm)?
2) Is the rated voltage at least 160V?
3) Is the speed less than 6000 RPM?
4) Is the brand reliable, such as Turdan, Te Wei or Lemmar? Or the motor is no brand and is present only the label of the treadmill manufacturer?
If you have said yes to all these questions certainly are doing a good deal, the engine is of good quality and probably other components (board, belt, deck) are too.
Let’s see in detail why:
HP (horsepower) motor of a treadmill is probably the most known figure when a consumer searches for the purchase of a new treadmill. Usually we believe that the larger the value is, the better is. However, the truth is that the numbers can be confusing and eventually turn out incredibly misleading.
Terms such as "Duty Treadmill", "PHP" (Peak HP) and "Duty Peak", different classes of thermal insulation and duty cycles were used in the past to deceive consumers and to increase the valuation of certain equipment at the expense of others. What does each of these mean?
  • Duty Treadmill: measures the power for an average user of treadmill using at an average speed over an average time period. But since it is an average, is not a real representation of the real power.
  • Duty Peak = PHP: theoretical maximum power that a motor can achieve when working at the maximum. This is a theoretical measure and sustainable only for a short period. It is measured a “peak” at the highest possible speed with minimum load. But an engine does not keep high rpm for all the time (you don’t keep running at max speed), so this is not an accurate measurement.
The most reliable standard of measurement is the so called "continuous duty". It measures the maximum power supplied once is reached the thermal regime of the engine. It’s used for commercial-grade equipment and applied to the treadmill used in gyms, health clubs and in the domestic high-end treadmills.
Unfortunately, often even this value is affected by uncertainly. This happens because different assessment on the maximum operating temperature (insulation class) or test mode at bench make this value subject to the discretion of the engine manufacturer or the imagination of the treadmill brand, which sometimes increase some values in order to attract more customers.
Another aspect to consider, are the revolutions per minute (RPM). They are really important in the design of a treadmill engine. The ratio of continuous power and RPM is the torque. This is the most important factor in determining the best motor suitable for your needs. The lower the nominal number of revolutions of an engine, the more torque is. Especially at low engine speeds required for a person using the treadmill for walking or for rehabilitation.
At the same user speed, an engine with very high rated speed will be subject to more intense adjustments and thus greater wear. It is therefore recommended when possible to select motors with a rated speed within the 6000 RPM. This allows the engine to last longer.
Since the mains voltage in Europe is 220 / 240V you should also avoid, whenever possible, the purchase of treadmills with motors with rated voltage of less than 160V. In fact, this involves an extra adjustment effort of the controller. It has to adjust heavily the voltage supplied to the motor, which is very far from the one supplied by the network.
A very practical selection methods available to everybody, is to consider motor size. The power of the motor mainly depends on the size of the armature, so the engines with a larger diameter will have a greater useful power. They will also tend to dissipate heat more effectively and so last longer.
You should avoid motors with a diameter of less than 8 cm. The best DC motors have a diameter of 10 cm or 12 cm.
One final aspect is the brand. Engines built with cheap materials, in fact, tend to deteriorate easily over time. The best brands are Turdan and Te Wei (the two leading brands in this market) and Lemmar.